John Fass and the Typophiles Club
The Typophiles is an association of people who appreciate fine printing, typography, and bookmaking. The group first began meeting in Manhattan in the 1930s, at Burty's French Restaurant on West 50th Street. They called themselves the Biblio Beef Eaters.
The groups was led by Paul Bennett, who was layout director for Mergenthaler Linotype Company. John Fass was actively involved with the organization from its earliest meetings, and designed some of their first publications.
Abe Lerner described John Fass' design of the 1937 Typophiles book Left to their Own Devices, "This book is the most beautiful of the early chap books, and one of the most beautiful of the entire series, mainly because it was designed by just one person, John Fass, a very good designer. Although many shops contributed to the presswork, the typesetting was done at only one place, Mergenthaler Linotype, using Janson throughout in accordance with Fass’s designs. The paper, a lovely gray-tinted sheet uniform for the whole volume, contributed its share to the handsome unity of effect." (www.typophiles.org)
Above: John Fass' proof of initials for Left to their own Devices
1935: John Prints Barnacles from Many Bottoms for Bruce Rogers:
In 1935 the Typophiles club published Barnacles from Many Bottoms, (cheeky title included) to honor Bruce Rogers, the goup's most celebrated designer.
The title page included initials of Typophile club associates, including JSF (John S. Fass). The two most famous designers and typographers of this group were Bruce Rogers and William A. Dwiggins. These two artists never needed more than their initials to identify themselves to this group. There could only ever be one "BR" (Bruce Rogers), and one "WAD" (William Addison Dwiggins) . John Fass often signed his work JSF, to suggest that his work as good as the work of BR and WAD.